Volo 780 Coupe

More horsepower ensures that the Swedish entry in the exotic-coupe market
won't be a secret much longer

Los Angeles-

Semi-exotic coupes are a
glut on the market now,
but Volvo deserves credit
for building one of the first in
1978. Of course, almost no one
noticed at the time, because the
Bertone-designed 262C- with
its vinyl-covered chopped top-
looked decidedly odd.
   Fortunately, Volvo has come
a long way since then. These
days its 780 coupe, also
designed by Bertone, passes
inspection by the Design Police.
   Even so only a few thousand
coupes have been sold since
the car first sidled into this
country late in 1987. Now,
however Volvo makes a 175
bhp version of its turbocharged
2.3-liter, four-cylinder
powerplant available as an
option (in place of the
satisfactory but mundance 2.8-
liter V-6) and it looks as if the
coupe is stirring up some
excitement at last. For detail-
obsessed readers, the way to
differentiate the turbocharged
car from the normally aspirated
V-6 is to look at its wheels.
The turbo has, "Multi X" laced
alloy rims.
   The 780 coupe originally
introduced much of the
hardware that has found its
way recently into Volvo sedans,
including Bosch ABS, a driver's-
side air bag, and-finally-a
fully independent rear
suspension. The latter-
comprising lower trailing arms,
upper wishbones, a single coil
spring per side, and self-leveling
dampers-is particularly
competent and lends the coupe
the poise expected of cars in
this price range.
   Of course, now that Volvo's
sedans have been similarly
upgraded, the coupe's most
distinctive asset is its Bertone-
780 Red
built body, which streamlines
the standard Volvo look, giving
it surprisingly graceful two-door
proportions. It is as if all the
wrinkles had been pressed out
of the standard stodgy shape.
   The coupe's interior also has
a familial Volvo look, but it, too,
has been transformed. Part of
the magic, of course, is the
result, of a barrelful of
convenience features, as well as
supple leather-covered seats
and richly toned accents of
burled elm. Volvo tried hard to
make the interior of its 7-series
cars indistictive, and the coupe
makes that design live up to its
promise at last. Everything
looks right and feels good.
   In fact, looking right and
feeling good is what this car is
all about. It is balanced and
capable at all times, silent on
the straight, composed in the
curves. The turbo four-cylinder
comes on the boil quickly and
does its business with more
horsepower, thanks to boost
trickery that is new for this year.
   At 3439 pounds, the 780
coupe is by no means light on
its feet, yet it still manages to
feel alert and alive when you
drive quickly. The 780 does
almost everything well and is at
once sporting and
   Among competitors like the
Buick Reatta, Chrysler's TC by
Maserati, and even the Cadillac
Allanté, the Volvo's virtue is its
stereotypical good sence, which
gives it solid credentials as an
automobile and as an exhibition
of style. This is style without
superficiality. As a result, the
Volvo 780 coupe may actually
provide deeper satisfaction
than any of its competitors.

Base price / price as tested
$38,975 / $38,975
Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe
5 passengers, 2-door steel body
Turbocharged,intercooled SOHC 4-in-
line, 141 cu (2316cc)
Power SAE net 175 bhp @54100 rpm
4-speed automatic transmission
Independent front an rear suspension
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering
disc brakes. Anti-lock system
205/60HR-15 Michelin MXV2 Tires
Wheelbase 109.1 in
Curb weight 3439 l;
Fuel capacity 21.0 gal

text from: Michael Jordan,  Picture from: Colin Curwood Automobile Magazine September 1989.

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